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Research – good, bad and unnecessary

In earlier chapters we emphasized why tests of treatments must be designed properly and addressed questions that matter to patients and the public. When they are, everyone can take pride and satisfaction in the results, even when hoped-for benefits do not materialize, because important insights will have been gained and uncertainty lessened.

New – but is it better?

Without fair – unbiased – evaluations, useless or even harmful treatments may be prescribed because they are thought to be helpful or, conversely, helpful treatments may be dismissed as useless. And fair tests should be applied to all treatments, no matter what their origin or whether they are viewed as conventional or complementary/alternative. Untested theories about treatment effects, however convincing they may sound, are just not enough. Some theories have predicted that treatments would work, but fair tests have revealed otherwise; other theories have confidently predicted that treatments would not work when, in fact, tests showed that they did.

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